Jeffrey Epstein, Gun Control, Simone Biles: Your Weekend Briefing 2022

Updated: December 2, 2022

Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.



1. Jeffrey Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges who was able to cultivate a stream of high-profile friends despite his lurid lifestyle, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said.

Mr. Epstein, pictured above in 2017, hanged himself at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and his body was found Saturday morning. Last month, he was found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck but was not under suicide watch when he took his own life.

Attorney General William Barr said that the death “raises serious questions,” and that a special inquiry would be opened into what happened.


CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

2. As funerals begin for the victims of two mass shootings last weekend, Washington inches toward action on gun control.

President Trump explored whether to support expanded background checks and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, signaled that he would be open to considering the idea. But the president’s long history of changing his mind on gun issues raises questions about his real commitment to legislation.

We also revisited Mr. Trump’s trip to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, this past week after the massacres. The president became frustrated over his news coverage and his angry reaction led to White House-distributed news and social media that focused on him, not people affected by the shootings. Above, mourners in El Paso gathered at an ever-expanding memorial.

A common trait among mass killers, including the attacker in Dayton, is hatred toward women. In the debate over how to prevent attacks, some say the role of misogyny should be weighed.



CreditChristopher (TX) Lee for The New York Times

3. Gun control was a key talking point in Iowa, where Democratic presidential candidates emphasized the urgent need to confront gun violence in America.

At a forum in Des Moines, the candidates, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, above, voiced support for a common set of gun control proposals, like requiring universal background checks and banning assault weapons.

Nearly two dozen presidential hopefuls descended on the state fairgrounds this past week in Iowa. If a rival to Joe Biden is to emerge in the primary, it is likely to happen there.

Here’s a quick look at what else happened in the 2020 race this past week. Are you a Democrat or a Republican? A quiz from Opinion tries to guess.


CreditLoulou d’Aki for The New York Times

4. Sweden was long seen as a progressive utopia. Then came waves of immigrants — and the forces of populism at home and abroad.

The shift was largely due to an international disinformation machine, devoted to the cultivation, provocation and amplification of far-right, anti-immigrant passions and political forces.

A Times examination of the digital echo chamber’s content, personnel and traffic patterns illustrates how foreign state and nonstate actors have helped to give viral momentum to Swedish far-right websites. Above, a square in Rinkeby where witnesses said Russian journalists were trying to bribe immigrants into violence.



CreditAtul Loke for The New York Times

5. Cash machines have run dry. Baby food is running out. Public transport ground to a halt.

The Times got one of the first inside views of life under lockdown in Kashmir, the contested region on the India-Pakistan border that the Indian government has all but cut off from the outside world, and found a population that is feeling besieged and furious.

“It’s a living hell here,” one doctor said.

Indian photographers managed to work around the communication blockade and the miles of razor wire to take and publish their images.


CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

6. China said it closed Muslim detention camps. Our reporters found there’s reason to doubt that.

In late July, the Chinese government said that most of the Uighur detainees had been released from camps in the country’s northwest. But after traveling for seven days in the region, Times journalists found that the vast network of camps continues to operate, and even expand. Abduweili Kebayir, above with his wife and daughter, is a former detainee.

Meanwhile, antigovernment protesters in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory, gathered again today after demonstrations on Saturday descended into an evening of clashes, panic and widespread disruption.


CreditCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

7. Simone Biles took gymnastics to a new level. Again.

Biles became the first woman to perform a triple double — a double back flip with three twists — in a competitive floor exercise at the U.S. championships Friday night. Though she had trouble on the landing, the judges ruled that Biles had completed the element. She plans to try the trick again tonight when the women’s all-around title will be decided.

On the baseball field, Mets fans are soaking in a rarity: winning. The team has now won 15 times in 16 games and elbowed its way into playoff contention.


CreditWilliam Widmer for The New York Times

8. “My body knows the way.”

Since 1984, Sister Helen Prejean has traveled from her home in New Orleans to witness six executions at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. She wrote about her first experience with Elmo Patrick Sonnier in “Dead Man Walking,” making her one of the country’s best-known death penalty abolitionists, and maybe its most famous nun.

At 80, she is publishing a memoir about her evolution as a social activist.


9. For your viewing pleasure.

Here are the 50 best TV shows on Netflix right now. Each recommendation comes with a secondary pick, too, for 100 suggestions in all, and a few more suggestions from Watching.

On this week’s episode of “The Weekly,” above, our correspondents Max Fisher and Amanda Taub explore how YouTube’s algorithms may have played a decisive role in the rise of Brazil’s populist president, Jair Bolsonaro. It airs tonight at 10 p.m. on FX and tomorrow on Hulu.



CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

10. And finally, dig into one of our Best Weekend Reads.

This week we remember the towering novelist Toni Morrison, above, talk to former vegetarians turned butchers, and dig into Nicolas Cage’s acting philosophy in one wild interview.

For more on what to read, eat and listen to, may we suggest these 12 new books our editors liked; 10 best new recipes; a roundup of hit podcasts; our music critics’ latest playlist; and our Metropolitan Diary, which has readers’ tales of life in New York City.

Have a sunny week.

Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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